To the editor: The South Coast Air Quality Management District seems about to follow the sterling example set by the California Coastal Commission at its recent meeting in Morro Bay: Fire the competent executive officer who is not bending sufficiently to satisfy business interests and try to find a lap dog who will. ("Southern California smog regulator may be forced out amid shift on air board," March 1)
Good luck, Barry Wallerstein. Maybe you can join forces with Charles Lester, formerly head of the Coastal Commission staff, and form an organization to clean out the mess. Some of us would cheerfully contribute.
Paul Cooley, Culver City
To the editor: The effort of the brand-new, polluter-backed board members of the South Coast air district to oust Wallerstein is an alarming sign that an agency that should be protecting the air we breathe intends to roll back decades of air-quality gains.
Though our air has improved, Los Angeles still fails to meet Clean Air Act smog standards critical to protecting our health. Coming on the heels of a developer takeover of the Coastal Commission, this newest polluter-backed coup signals a concerning trend toward reversing environmental progress in our state.
For the sake of our lungs, we must hold air regulators accountable. Angelenos, especially, who have experienced school closures for smog days, must demand that the air district stand up to polluters like the oil industry, who are intent on poisoning our air.
Maya Golden-Krasner, Altadena
The writer is a staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity.
To the editor: Reading about the air district's "shift" to more industry-friendly pollution rules, I was reminded of my childhood.
Growing up in L.A. in the 1950s, I played outside on summer mornings, marveling at the deep shadows cast by trees in our yard. Then, after lunch, the shadows would disappear as the air became gray and smoky. Simply breathing would hurt my chest. My mother would make me come inside; we would pull the drapes and "rest" until, if we were lucky, winds would arrive and clear out the filthy air.
Now, traveling from the north, I marvel at the clean air in the L.A. basin and the view people now have of the San Gabriel Mountains. As someone who appreciates breathing, I hope others will also support Wallerstein's efforts in improving the air quality in Southern California.
Susan Massanari, Santa Barbara